Albertina Walker…. gospel legend in a big way…

October 9, 2010 bsmith101
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When I went up over the internet tonight I wasn’t at all surprised when I saw something come up with Albertina Walker’s name in the title.  I felt that it was an announcement about her having passed… even though I hadn’t heard anything on it until that time.

But I had noticed in seeing Albertina in various video footage and on a television program that she seemed weaker… a bit more sickly.    The television show I saw her on was a reception honoring her.

It is nice to give people flowers while they are yet alive.  That is what these people at that event had come to do for Albertina.  And she seemed so humble as she sat in her wheel chair beaming  up at them all barely able to speak.

Sometimes, when you begin to age and fall off  the horizon people turn away from you.  They forget your name… who you are… or  who you were.  But Albertina Walker did more for gospel music than just sing  it… and sing it with a passion.   She knew also talent when she saw it… and could pick voices… people with unspeakable gifts by way of  their vocal cords.    It is through her that such notable gospel artists, such as Shirley Ann Caesar first caught our attention… when she began performing with Albertina’s group, the Caravans, at a very young age.

Also  part of  Albertina’s group, the Caravans, was Dorothy Norwood… who is still on the gospel scene just like the Queen of  Gospel Music, Shirley Caesar.  But the Caravan also included some other great and mighty powerful gospel singers… such as Inez Andrews,  Rosetta Stone and others.

In fact, I was surprised to read in the announcement of  Albertina’s passing that I found in my email today…  that James Cleveland also got his start under Albertina Walker as well.

I also did not know that Albertina Walker had been a protegé of  the late and very great Miss Mahalia Jackson.  What a background… what musical history… and what  gospel music history.  My mother …and I guess everyone about her age and older…all loved Mahalia.  She was truly an icon.

While I was working at a radio station in Jersey some years ago… I got the opportunity to see Albertina perform.  The show was at a small church some place in Newark, New Jersey.   I got there early because I wanted a good seat… so I was there to see when Albertina first walked in.

Albertina came walking in …in this fabulous full length fur coat.  And ever since having seen that coat… I have had my sights on buying me a fabulous full length fur coat ever since.

That coat was talking.   It was absolutely beautiful.  And I could tell that it was also absolutely expensive.

And it looked fantastically marvelous on Albertina.

The show was  promoted by 1 of  the other radio announcers from the same radio station that I worked for.  His name was Herman Amish. .. I call it because I know a lot of  people know him, as he was popular on the gospel circuit.   Especially with the old-timer gospel acts…  because Herman did a lot of  gospel promoting in and around Newark area at that time.  And he knew almost   all of2ab-the-bishop-wifecover the gospel acts during and before that time… as he had more than likely probably booked them for a show 1 time or other.

But of all the shows that Herman had done… it  was View Bernadine Smith's profile on FiledByAlbertina Walker’s show that I went to.  I had long admired her voice and her musical skills and  genius when it came to relaying feeling in her songs.   But I never knew she was a song writer too.  Albertina wrote “Please Be Patient With Me”  …and personal favorite of mine… “Joy Will Come.”  

I will never forget that when my mother passed Shirley Caesar had released “Joy Will Come” on her then latest CD.  And it was a duo with Albertina… there is nothing like it.

I have hunted high and low to find that CD ever since.  Because it gave me so much comfort at a very low time in my life… to hear it.  And I would sit at that radio station playing it over and over…and over again  just crying and thinking about my mother.

There are few real song writers any more.  And even fewer real people with true talent.

Truly, Albertina may have been gone from the scene for some time but her imprint will linger forever in gospel music… and its history.

This morning a true gospel legend passed…  and her name was Albertina Walker.  She passed due to respiratory failure.   She was 81… and has now gone on home.

I don’t know about where you live… but the weather here has been unpredictable.  For a few days it has been wet and cold… then suddenly it is unbearably cold.

At any rate the leaves are starting to change colors now.  So, I guess we are really into fall now.

Hope you have a great weekend.  I understand that it is supposed to be a 3 day weekend.  Guess I’ll run around tomorrow so I can rest all day on Monday.  Definitely, sounds like a plan.

Well, God bless…

Thank you for reading this blog…and  my others.  Please be sure to continue to share this blog site with your family, co-workers and all your friends“pass it on…”  ©2010


Entry Filed under: Albertina Walker,Chicago,Church people,Dealing with loss,death,Jersey,MUSIC,Shirley Caesar,Stong Women

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Soulman  |  August 4, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    “We all have heard of Elvis and other white recording artists covering black folks music and trying their best to sound like us”.

    Say wha….??

    Look I know a lot of work and time went into your blog and there was much interesting reading but I have to tell you not only do I take issue with the above quote from your blog, I find it ignorant and borderline bigoted and I would expect better from someone such as yourself.

    I know your blog wasn’t about Elvis, but that one singular comment speaks volumes about you as a person it raises credibility questions.

    This is not the 1980s or 90s anymore. Many folks have started doing their research on Elvis and with the Internet too many interviews with Gospel, Blues and r_&_b singers from the 1950’s and 60s have defended Elvis as one of the original white singers that was legit and was doing crossover music from both white and black artist… He did it with sincerity because he was born in raised in the same environment as us… abject poverty and considered white trash. And every single interview I have found or read from someone that had bat time talking with him said they felt terrible over the years about the way many folks have labeled him a cultural thief or imitator. many of them have used the words “Elvis was one of us”… and he was one of us.
    In the words of Bluesman Billy Emerson (friends with BB King back in the day) he said “most the white musicians didn’t bother publicly hanging out with all us black folks but Elvis was the only one, he treated everybody the same no matter what their skin color and was the sweetest most legit person you’d want to meet”.

    And please don’t say you’ve never heard any of those legends defending Elvis. That would be terribly embarrassing considering most of that info is just a Google search away.
    Elvis got a bad rap from a lot of people and that Chuck D mentality is out the door with most thinking people these days. Chuck was terribly embarrassed like many of us when he found out that “shoe shine” quote from Elvis was a ugly made up rumor that Elvis never said. He never said anything like that in his life to anybody.

    In fact, after BB King call Chuck D out on national TV 14 years ago Chuck has done his research for dissing Elvis, Chuck done a turn around on his thinking about Elvis. Come to think of it many folks have from some interesting articles and blogs on the internet the last few years. I give a lot of respect to people who are big enough 2 admit they were wrong on something like that after being taught our whole lives to see Elvis as a cultural thief … or just an imitator, but that’s not acceptable anymore. We now know he was the real deal.

    That’s a terrible thing to try to destroy a good man’s humanity by labeling him like all the other whites back in the day. People that try to play stupid about it basically sound … prejudice. That’s right I went there.

    The trifling mentality among our community that ‘Elvis was trying to copy or sing like us’ is just that… triflin’.

    • 2. bsmith101  |  August 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      I can appreciate your love for Elvis… but honestly don’t remember writing that much about him.

      But since you wish to debate me or rather chastise me concerning my opinion on Elvis and his creativity. ..let me just say this that ‘yes’ it is widely understood that he stole a lot of his moves from African American singers of his era…and no did cover many songs by African American artists which a popular thing done in that time by record companies. But that is not to say that he may not have been a highly likeable person. I mean if I liked what people were doing and how they did it… what better way to learn it than to make friends with them. Back in the day that was called ‘getting in with them.’

      But out of all those Elvis movies how many black folk did you every see in one of them?

      I mean he liked them… Black folk… so much… (well, according to you) he couldn’t tell one director or screen writer to write one black person or character into all his movies?

      Your pretense is to sound and appear like you are an African American person in this comment… but I can tell you are not.

      Let me say ….we watched all those movies and heard all those songs… watched Elvis’ moves that many TV networks at that time would not even shoot below Elvis’ waist to show. So, we know where those moves came from… and Elvis was not the originator.

      Regarding Chuck D. and any so-called epiphany or change of heart regarding Elvis or anyone else I cannot speak on that because I honestly don’t know anything about it…or if what you have said is true. I can only defend myself and whatever I say or write. And the same goes for anything you have said B.B. King has said.

      As far as information over the Internet goes. must know you can’t believe everything you read on it. Most of it can’t be backed up.. and I suspect just like your comment ….has to be taken with a grain of salt.

      With that being said… stay black and stop trying to speak for dead folk. They are dead…and I thank you for your comment…;)

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